Coffee cakes are not made with coffee. They’re called that way because they’re the perfect partner for our favorite brewed drink.
Coffee is intense and bitter, sometimes creamy and lusciously sweet. It is always the center of attention, which means whatever you serve with it, must be excellent. Coffee cakes are just that; they’re in their own category of baking treats.
The buttermilk coffee cake is amongst the most decadent, precisely because it’s made with the unctuous buttermilk, a by-product of butter production. Together with all-purpose flour, lots of butter, a few eggs and a kiss of vanilla, this spongy cake is a charmer. As pretty as it is tasty.
As for the topping, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. For starters, you can leave your cake as is, because what’s wrong with a perfectly moist cake without a topping?
Now, some people will cover theirs with a crumbly streusel topping, which is basically delicious lumps of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. I like to top mine with a pecan glaze, and you can substitute pecans with your favorite nuts.
What we’re looking for here is a crunchy texture to contrast with the buttery cake. Of course, feel free to top your cake with anything, from lemon-scented cream cheese frosting to a classic crumble.
If you do as I did and top your cake with crushed nuts, you can pair it with a creamy coffee with fall flavors. Think a pumpkin spice latte. Doesn’t that sound great?
Line a 9″ spring form pan with parchment paper and coat with butter.
In a mixing bowl, add the all-purpose flour, the baking soda, the baking powder and the salt. Combine and set aside.
In a stand mixer, combine the butter, vanilla and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients and the buttermilk into the butter mixture until everything is incorporated.
In a medium bowl, combine the crushed pecans and the brown sugar to form a paste.
Pour the buttermilk mixture into your prepared spring form pan and cover the surface with the pecan paste.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Remove from the oven, let it cool and enjoy with a good cup of coffee.